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DaveB last won the day on November 10 2020

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About DaveB

  • Birthday 07/28/1948

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  1. Yeah, Heeb...the whole thing always makes me nervous. When you add the details of immigration documents and rules to the ever shifting pile of COVID stuff, you can only dig deep and hope you have it all covered. Meanwhile, Joey G, you just landed one of the big answers I was seeking: when does the "boarding for the US" clock start. What you describe with the two separate flights is exactly what happens if you fly stand by. Last night, we set that one aside. Too risky. Instead, we tapped my wife's large mileage pile and booked a flight with JAL that books from Manila to the US, with a plane change in Haneda. So I was hopeing that means we "boarded for the US" when we left Manila and from there it's just like any other flight booking. One thing that concerned me was, for some reason, I had thought the COVID test has to be the full PCR type...which causes turn around concerns to get the results. However, last night, for the first time, I found out that there are several tests that are accepted, incluing the rapid antigen type. I have some chasing around to do to find a test facility that can assure one day turn around, but classically the antigen test is cheaper and very quick to get response. Very good chance I can get that test in the morning and have the results later that day. I need to jump over to the CDC site and confirm what I think is true, and then nail down a test facility I can rely on. But if all that comes together, my "nervousness" meter drops significantly (it never gets to zero, though). Really appreciate the time you guys took to help me out.
  2. Three in my household had been tested at Medical City Clark in prep for a trip to Bataan a few months ago. Got two results back about 4:30 that afternoon, but the other one came back next morning. One thing I'm starting to call airlines about is my assumption that the "to the US" flight is the one that leaves from the connecting lay over. As I said, we are trying to fly stand by or using mileage, which were retirement benefits my wife has from here time working for an airline. If stand by, we fly to, for example, Narita or Soeul, then stand by again to fly from there to the US, usually with a few hour lay over. If my assumption is right, and it's the second flight that's considered "boarding for the US" we need to be there the afternoon or evening after the COVID test and be on the plane before midnight. BUT...if use a mileage plan, and we book a trip where we're ticketed through to the US, even if we change planes somewhere on the way, I'm wondering if we are considered "boarding for the US" out of Manila, and not out of the connecting city. Near as I can tell, we need to call some airlines and discuss it. If anyone has some insight let me know Of course, painful as it is, we can just pay full fare and fly direct. Just hoping not to have to. One benefit we were hoping to use when we retired was that ability to fly around cheap. Damn COVID has introduced some frustrating wrinkles this past year.
  3. Not sure if this is best discussed in this Forum or the one regarding visas and travel. Seems more COVID specific, so here goes. If you're considering travel TO the US...like for the holidays (like me): It's a tad misleading when the news reports that all travelers entering the US need a COVID test that is not more than 24 hours old. The actual travel guidance is: "Before boarding a flight to the United States, you are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 1 day before travel. The 1-day period is 1 day before the flight’s departure. The Order uses a 1-day time frame instead of 24 hours to provide more flexibility to the air passenger and aircraft operator. By using a 1-day window, test acceptability does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test sample was taken. For example, if your flight is at 1pm on a Friday, you could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday." So...that resolved at least one concern I had - how to get a 24 hour COVID test result for travel when it takes about 24 hours just to get the test result. Now, if you're flying direct, like from Manila to LA, this isn't as much of a problem. Get the COVID test, get the result the next morning, get on the plane before midnight, you're in compliance. The plot thickens a bit if you have a connecting flight. My wife is an airline retiree, so we fly standby on diverse partner airlines - and pay about $250 apiece one way. So good deal. But for those kinds of flights, they usually have a lay over somewhere like in Seoul or Narita or wherever. That means the part about "boarding a flight for the US" starts when you get on that SECOND flight. So for example, I get my COVID test result, the next day I leave Manila for Seoul. Then I have maybe a four or five layover in Seoul before boarding my flight for Seattle. The "one day" to board ends when I get on the US bound flight. I gotta be on that connection before midnight the day after the COVID test. So if you're considering a US flight, keep this kind of quirk in mind, if it applies. Meanwhile...on a related topic: the travel requirements ALSO require that you be "fully vaccinated". This is described as You are considered fully vaccinated: · 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine · 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series · 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial · 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of a Novavax (or Covovax) COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a phase 3 clinical trial · 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart* You will notice, in case you're wondering, there is still no discussion regarding boosters. If you watch US news, you may have noticed that there are discussions over whether the definition of "Fully Vaccinated" should only be applied if you have the booster shot. I think that's coming, some day, if only to get more incentive in place to promote the "get a booster" campaign. But if they did it now, they'd negate a very large percentage of potential travelers, as boosters are still relatively new to the scene. I'm hoping the definition stays as currently described, because while I have the booster, my wife doesn't. And since the VA stopped giving dependents COVID vaccinations, and the Philppines is way behind the curve on the whole issue, not sure where the hell she's going to get one in the next three or four weeks. The CDC guidance is at :https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel/index.html
  4. There's a few hundred miliion people being vaccinated with extremely small instances of adverse reaction. There's ivermectine which has a "hey, try this" following. So...on one hand, free vaccine with a track record...on the other hand someting else that "might be helpful". Seems to me with the effort to go get some ivermectine you could just go get vaccinated and not worry about it. Why bother with ivermectine? Just because you can...maybe?
  5. Some info from an old curmudgeon: when I was a kid in the 50s (yep...I'm OLD), I lined up in the cafeteria at school with every other kid in the school and got a MANDATORY smallpox vaccination, polio shot, and a measles and mumps shot. Wasn't any noise about rights or other whining - get it or leave school. That's it. Now, my parents were the generation that had just gone through WWII...during which there was a MANDATORY draft and there was MADATORY food and gas rationing. They took that in stride the same reason they took the vaccines in stride - a sense that they have a greater obligation to the country as a whole, and it trumps individual focus. As a reslult - no more smallpox, no more polio, and measels was rare until people started listening to a bizarre misinformation campaign about the vaccine causing autism...and lo and behold, up popped new measels out breaks. A nice study in cause and effect. I think COVID is around forever. The basic mask and social distance stuff is classic deterrent to infection going back over 100 years. See the masks in Spanish Flu phots? There's a reason doctors wear masks in surgery. Is it 100% effective? Nope...nothing human related ever is. But it behooves us to do it to try and minimize the impacts as much as possible. Even the best vaccines are 5% ineffective, so for some folks it ain't gonna work. But the rest can drive down the spread a lot and cut off the human petri dish the virus thrives in. If you refuse to get it for whatever reason - then Darwin was right and the gene pool will benefit ultimately. But it is the height of arrogance and selfishness to seque into the follow on thought that because you don't want to take measures, neither should anyone else, and it is your "right" to run around and potentially infect everyone else. As for lock downs...I don't think anyone believes they will eradicate the disease. I think governments are really focused on keeping the number of inevitble infections low enough that the medical infrastructure doesn't get completely overwhelmed. Kind of a nasty thought to show up at a hospital with a heart problem and get told all the beds are full with COVID patients. I'm really tired of Philippine sudden knee jerk reactions and ultimate lockdowns and travel restrictions - but I'm sympathetic. It just wouldn't take much to completely blow away the entire country's medical complex and since they can't afford a population's worth of vaccine, they are stressing the old fallbacks. I suspect some day they will get to the point where vaccinations are finally dispersed to enough people to remove that threat, even if there are still some people getting sick, and they'll then lift a lot of restrictions. But not being one of the "rich countries", they are ways off before they get there.
  6. I'd agree, but I'm kinda stuck with an extra urgency. My current lease expires in November. We want to find our final nest...which means first going to some places we're really interested in to see if we want to actually live there. Morong, from afar, seems to be a potential excellent match to what we're seeking, so we need to get there in the next month or so and decide if it is. If so, we need to then home in on the area and look to buy a house, or whatever. So we're pushing through the travel fiascos to see if we can make that happen. We have some "plan B" stuff lined up - like just lease for another year and build a house, and if we ultimately don't find a geographical area we like more than Angeles City, we'll just stay in Angeles City. Got a lot of "plan A" vs. "plan B and C" going on right now. So...travel restrictions are just another part of a larger tap dance.
  7. To close out this thread, I still haven't made it to Morong. We went in for the COVID tests and, as I think I mentioned in a different post thread, damned if my maid didn't come up positive. Totally asymptomatic, but they slapped her in a quarantine hotel for two weeks, and my wife and I had to home quarantine. (Still wondering if it was a false positive). By the time that was all over, Bataan closed down due to Delta variant tremors, and has been closed ever since. Hoping it opens up on Aug 1, but thus far they keep extending it for two weeks at a time - with the usual 24 hour notice that seems to plague Filipino decision making. So...still sitting tight. Mariveles got designated a COVID hot spot last week, so not sure how much that is going to ripple up and down the peninsula.
  8. My maid felt it as a vibration here in Angeles City - but I'm retired, I don't wake up that early for anything any more.
  9. I get their routine clinic news emails and have been tracking this topic for a while. Everything up to now had been, to paraphrase, "when we get all vets enrolled with the clinic, we will move on to all other vets, and when that is done, we'll move on to dependents and care givers". This always has had the observation that they think it will be several months before they can get to dependents. Last Thursday they sent out an email and, surprise, now open to dependents. It contained a form to fill out and advice to message it on EVets, or return email it or fax it. I sent it in via an email reply, and then started to log into eVets to send it that way, too, just to cover the bases. I didn't finish logging on to eVets and there was already a lady on the phone talking to my wife about setting up an Appointment on Sunday...took them like 3 minutes to respond to my email. So wife got her vaccination on Sunday. They are currently going 7 days a week. They recommend going there on Saturday and Sunday as the traffic is better, and their regular shift resources are more freed up. You can call as noted in this discussion string, or...if you don't mind waiting...you can do a walk in. It's running very efficiently and well-organized. People with appointments, which are in 15 minute blocks, are lined up every 15 minutes outside the security door and they file in. As it goes, if an appointment block isn't completely filled, they pull in some walk ins. All people with appointments are on a list and they check you off on the way in. All walk ins are given a number and just hang loose outside until those numbers are called. At the end of the day, it's all walk ins for the last appointment blocks. As a matter of comparison: my maid was in the tier one category for the barangay due to age, so my wife registered her for an appointment. She got one a couple weeks ago. It was a 4 hour fandango with medical screenings and paperwork and occasional jerks crashing the line. Big mob in on place with an ongoing overlay of confusion. Very Filipino, in other words. The VA hopes to do 300 a day on week ends, and less (I think 100) on week days. When I got my vaccination, early on as a registered patient (back in May), it was Phizer and I had to do 2 trips. When they ordered their second batch of vaccine, they opted for Johnson and Johnson so it was a one shot deal and no need to go all the way back to Manila for a second shot.
  10. I guess I'm now officially living in the Philippines...got my ACR card today. For those who like to keep score on such things, here's the time line: Dec 15 - submitted combined application for 13A and ACR card Jan 28 - on the approved Agenda posting for that date May 5 - got my Provisional (one year) 13A stamped into my passport July 6 - got my ACR card. In case you're wondering, none of this relates to impacts from submitting at a regional BI office (in Angeles City) vs. submitting at BI "central" in Intramuros. From simple personal reading, it seems like the regional offices are a LOT less crowded and easier to work with. But ultimately, every thing that everyone does ends up going to the central BI world for approval and processing. If you ever look at one of the approved agenda spreadsheets (available on the BI website), you see every two weeks there are hundreds of pages of applicants for every agenda, country-wide. That's a monstrous backlog going through one constrained bottle neck. So...gotta have faith. As noted in some other posts, it is almost impossible to track a specific request (i.e., yours) from submission to completion. If you haven't been rejected, then you are probably still in process...somewhere...hang in there.
  11. When I wrote that question yesterday, I was actually thinking of Jack. He gave me his card when I was there last November, but I've lost track of it. So I Googled it this morning and I see his contact info. Weird that the process is a snail mail show, and no online submission. I can file a claim for disability on line - wonder why the FMP requires hard copy. Anyway, I had planned to join the RAO if I ever resolve how (if) to live in Bataan, Real admirable guy (Jack) and real admirable organization. It's worth donating to even if you aren't a member. So I'll head down that happy path. I was hoping for something like a URL that I couldn't find...but after enough exposure to the VA, you kinda get used to everything taking 6 months.
  12. I"m a Vet with disabilities and already enrolled in both FMP and with the VA Clinic in Manila. I have a medical reimbursement claim I'd like to submit to FMP for service related injury medical care. I'm having a deuce of a time figuring out how to make the request. All I'm getting off the websites and the printed pubs is "mail your claim to the VA". Haven't seen anything like a claim form (like I see with Tricare, for example). If it's just a matter of pulling together a cover letter and the receipts, I can do that, but using the Philippine postal system for anything gives me the willies. Is there any guidance to be gained by calling the VA clinic in Manila? Just looking for some general advice on how to get this thing off the ground. Surprised (so far) I'm not seeing any online submission instructions.
  13. Trash, or the lack thereof, is a characteristic of various locales in the Philippines. I started picking up on it without really thinking about it. But I'd be some place, or see some new place on TV, and if there was no trash on the sidewalk, that fact would almost jump up right in my face. For example...Kolebo is a pretty trash free town...from what I can see so far, so is Balanga. Some barangays here in Angeles City are very tidy. It's all a matter of what the local culture goes with. In the Provinces I see more trash randomly piled up because, frankly, where else is it gonna go? But there's a difference between using the local trash pile and trash being every where, wherever someone drops something. In the cities, and noticeably in the rivers that flow through them, flat surfaces, wet and dry, look like breeding grounds for pestilence - but there's a lot of really nice, clean rivers out there in the hinterlands. I think it all harkens back to the day when the average Filipino didn't own much that wasn't bio-degradable It's one thing to throw out a plastic bottle. It's something else to through out a bamboo section that you were using for a cup. The culture still seems to be still in a bit of transition on the topic. By nature, Filipinos seem to be neat and tidy people, but they are also fanatically practical. Trash is something you get rid of, any way you can, and you get on about trying to figure out how to get through the day. Some "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" at work there.
  14. Come back when we are out of this silly quarantine. I offered to buy you lunch once upon a time - time to pay up. Check out Mt Arayat National Park. It doesn't look like they have actual places to stay, but it might be a cool side trip. Looks like a great swimming area with very nice grounds and gardens.
  15. Along those lines...I forgot one other schizophrenic event: I mentioned our two proposed house-sitter relatives had to home quarantine with us (and are still here)...and they had to get a COVID test. They got that COVID test yesterday, five days after all the hoopla. They got it by having to go to Mabalacat, where they live - on the other side of the Clark Freeport zone from my house. They got there by taking a taxi. Then they hung around a site with a bunch of other people getting tested. Then they took a cab back. Apparently if you are traveling and hanging around with good intentions, COVID doesn't attack you. That age window - 18 to 65 - reared its head on our Morong planning. Originally I was told that, being older than 65, the resort wouldn't check me in. When I told them I was vaccinated, and after some off-line discussions with their boss, they said I could come as long as I had the vax card. Like I said, I'm still a little leary as to just how much that marries up with the Bataan checkpoint expectations. Only one way to find out... Anyway...strange that you mentioned looking for a water resort up here. My wife and I this afternoon went on U-Tube and were looking for info on a couple of those. We had been looking forward to some beach resort time in Morong. We decided, since that fell through, maybe when we get out of quarantine and Lucy gets home we'll go hang out at a water park or something for the day. Let me know if you head up to one. Maybe we'll get a day pass and meet ya for a beer.
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